Do you find yourself slouched at your Canary Wharf desk or hunched over Candy Crush Saga on your iPad at lunchtime?
If so, you might well be developing poor posture. But what can you do straighten up and fly right?
Pure Sports Medicine in Cabot Place might have the solution. Specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapist Adam Goode advocates getting your colleagues involved. He believes getting them to snap and shame his clients every couple of hours during the working day is the ideal motivator.
He said nearly half of those on his treatment table suffered from ailments caused by their desk-based careers and the images were more than just a shaming technique.
They also provide a visual aid for pinpointing the source of stresses and pains.
Typically neck, shoulder and back ailments result from repetitive use of office equipment meaning the upper trapezius, erector spine and spine move as a block, rather than as individual components, causing twinges.
Adam is clear about the main source of problems he sees.
“I have a big problem with a lot of the chairs in Canary Wharf,” he said.
“You’ll see executive chairs that sway away from supporting the upper back.
“They don’t offer support to the lower part of the back either, because they curve away from the natural spine shape.
“The chair should take the majority of the back support when sitting.
“You see people perched on the age of the seat, and they will try to sit up straight in what’s deemed to be a perfect posture, but that’s hard to maintain for the muscles over a long period of time.
“Trying to sustain that means your body will begin screaming and shouting – your muscles need to move.”
Simply sitting up straight won’t fix those niggles and Adam believes there’s no such thing as the perfect posture.
Instead he said everyone had an individual ideal seated posture, of not leaning too far forward or back.
But what about the craze for standing desks and sitting on Swiss balls?
“Little and often with all of these things is the best way,” said Adam. “But an individual who just uses a standing desk, is that going to make a difference? No.
“Standing desks are good as long as they utilise the right posture but it’s variation that’s key. If you’re sitting for an hour the easiest thing you can do is stand up – it resets the body.
“For the pressure on the disks, ligaments and muscles that run down the back you want to reset the body clock and vary the pressure often.”
Other recommended “resets” include keeping a small water bottle on the desk and, when it’s empty, walking and refilling it.
The 32-year-old also suggested seeking advice from a company’s HR department to secure an ergonomic chair as well as an appointment with a physio or expert, so the sufferer can become educated about why their pain occurs as well as receiving treatment.
Adam said many of his clients also experienced cervicogenic, or secondary, headaches – caused by extra stress on the occipital nerves, which could be helped with therapy and postural awareness.
“It’s not just the physical manifestations it’s sustained psychological stress too,” said the 32-year-old. “For people who have extra stress, it all feeds into what feels like a loop of pain.”
Go to puresportsmed.com
BREAKOUT: TOP THREE EXERCISES TO OPEN UP THE BODY
1. Upper trapezius shoulder shrug and standard shoulder rolls with the a theraband (stretchy resistance band).
2. Neutral post shoulder extensions and lateral raises and lifts of the arms.
3. Plenty of rowing from a good posture with a theraband.